Red Stars’ Rory Dames makes expectations clear


Sofia Huerta
Bridgeview, IL – Sunday May 29, 2016: Chicago Red Stars forward Sofia Huerta (11) celebrates scoring during a regular season National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) match at Toyota Park. (Photo credit: Chicago Red Stars)

The Chicago Red Stars played Sky Blue FC to a 1-1 draw on Sunday. They were without three starters from the USWNT: Julie Johnston, Alyssa Naeher, and Christen Press, which I discussed in my match preview. It was imperative for the Red Stars to create scoring opportunities and lock down the defense without these starters reporting to national team duty.

Sophia Huerta scored a goal in the 34th minute after a beautiful ball was slotted to her through the middle of the field from Danielle Colaprico. These two and the rest of the Red Stars created plenty of other starting opportunities but were unable to find the back of the net with the chances they created. With a goal from Sky Blue FC in the 69th minute of the game, the Red Stars were not able to earn their fifth win of seven games this season; however, they still remain unbeaten in six games.

In post match interviews, the Red Stars’ head coach Rory Dames wasn’t shy in expressing how he felt about the team’s performance, and now his comments are a hot topic of debate amongst NWSL fans.

Image: Screenshot via Facebook’s National Women’s Soccer Supporters group


I can’t admit to knowing much about Dames’ relationship with his players or his typical postgame feedback since he became head coach of the team in 2011, but I have read enough comments about his most recent postgame interview to know that there has been a mix of emotions towards it.

In this particular interview, Dames’ does not pacify his feelings. He specifically states that the Red Stars would have played better with their missing USWNT players and compares their play to the players that filled their positions for Sunday’s game against Sky Blue. His expectations for his team are clear.  The question up for debate is whether Dames’ should have made these statements public or if he should have kept them private, between him and his team.

As a former player, I never played well when negative criticism was abundant, especially if it was addressed in front of my teammates. However, I played with several women, who fed off of the energy of comments similar to those Dames made, and they were often more successful on the field after hearing them. (I always envied these players.)

For players like me, who have a more challenging time dealing with public critique of their playing, hopefully, there are leaders on the team to bring Dames’ criticism to light and instead use it as constructive observation for improvement.

Another concern I have with the blunt postgame commentary would be the possible effect it would have on the relationship between players. Assuming that Johnston, Naeher, and Press already receive more attention from the media due to their positions on the USWNT, I would hope that Dames’ feedback would not jeopardize the chemistry between players on his team.

In the end, Dames knows his team. He knows what criticism they’re able to handle, and what they’re not able to handle. He even states it, ” I’m not saying anything they don’t know. They don’t need me to tell them that.”  This makes it clear that Dames knows his team and knows what they’re capable of hearing like all head coaches should.

Bridgeview, IL – Sunday, May 29, 2016: Rory Dames offers instruction to Jen Hoy during the Chicago Red Stars game vs. Sky Blue FC. Photo credit:

What are your thoughts on head coaches making public statements such as Dames’ to the media?







3 thoughts on “Red Stars’ Rory Dames makes expectations clear

  1. I’m not sure these comments needed to be made at all. Players called up for the Olympics compete at a higher level then those who don’t rate a spot on the USWNT roster? That’s self evident.

    If this is for motivation, I guess we’ll have to wait and see if it works.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In general I think all coaches do what they think will motivate their teams. For some it takes the form of a public dressing down, for others a motivational locker room speech does the trick. Dames doesn’t have a history of going the public route so I have to think he’s tried the locker room approach and it just didn’t get the desired result. I would assume aspirations of the players/staff/owners for the Red Stars are quite high this year and they won’t be satisfied with just making the playoffs after their performance last year. Taking that into account I think Dames is holding the team and all players accountable in the most high profile way possible, publicly. If he knows his team, this will not cause much commotion internally with regard to player chemistry. If he does not know his team we will find out in pretty short order. The history of the Red Stars is that they are a tough team, on the field grinding out games and when banding together to face adversity. I think that Dames has thrown down the gauntlet to his players and now it’s their turn to take it up. And I think they will.

    Liked by 1 person

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